A divorce is a traumatic event, and no matter how much relief you might feel once the process is over, there’s always going to be emotional ties to a failed marriage. However, the pain does fade, and when you start to feel that little spring in your step once again, then it might be time to think about dating. The problem is, if your relationship was a long-term one, then it can be very daunting jumping back into the dating game again. Knowing what’s changed, or even having the courage to meet new people, can put off even the boldest divorcee. If you’re thinking about dating after divorce, use this checklist to avoid the most common mistakes.

1: Make sure you’re ready: Only when you understand what went wrong with your last relationship will you be ready to try again. If there were faults on your side, then you need to address them to ensure that you do not repeat them.

2: Know what you’re looking for: A failed marriage gives us a blueprint to a stronger and more loving relationship. You should have learned about what you don’t want, and having a clear notion of your needs is going to be essential.

3: Look for joy: Don’t use dating as an excuse to be happy. Make yourself find joy in the things that used to make you happy. Relearn hobbies or find new ones. You might even find your ideal partner in the process.

4: Have a support network: Whether it’s friends who can give you advice or online communities going through similar issues, you’re going to need support. Dating is always stressful and emotional, and even more so when you are recently divorced.

5: Go online: There’s no getting around the fact that the current dating trends make it very likely that you will create an online dating profile. There are some great tips available for building a better profile, but the critical thing to remember is always to be honest. Honesty reduces the potential for more mistakes or misunderstandings in your future.

6: Don’t settle: There’s no rush to find a new and stronger relationship. Take your time to make sure that you find the right person. When you do, commit! Make sure that you spend the appropriate amount of time together, and make efforts to stay physically intimate. You can learn more about how to incorporate more physical intimacy into your relationship no matter how busy you are and this advice could ensure a lifetime of physical and emotional intimacy.

7: Don’t look for fixer-uppers: You never need to find someone who needs to change. Never go into dating hoping to find someone that you can ‘fix.’ The only person that you have the power to change is yourself, and that should be your permanent goal. Growth is the key to a happier life, and your dating should be a means of exploring just who you want to be.

The most important thing to remember is that dating is a process. There’s no secret key to a faster or more successful dating strategy, so be patient. There will be good and bad experiences, funny ones and sad ones. Persevere, and you could be taking positive steps to a happier and more love-filled future.

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